Class Analysis (Early-Mid Game)
Posted by Rengor1997 | July 14 2020
Part 2 of this post (covering late game classes) is available here.
The classes of Three Houses have a lot going on with them. Between class growths, class bases, stat changes for being in them, promotion requirements, mastery skills, adjutant type and so on, there's a lot to cover. In this post and the next I will be attempting to explain every class' role in efficient play, whether as an end-class or something to get for the class mastery. This post assumes you're familiar with the basics of classes of 3H – if you're not, check out the Classes section on this site to catch up. Also, this post assumes no access to the paid DLC most of the time, but I will talk about the DLC classes. Finally, these analyses are for regular NG runs, although the same concepts apply to NG+.
I'll be splitting up the discussions into early-mid game classes and mid-late game classes. This post will cover the former, so unique classes (except the house leader story ones), beginner classes, and intermediate classes.
Unique Classes Part 1
These are the classes that do not fall under the standard class progression of 3H, so the reasons for being in them are too diverse to generalize. Click here for a full list.
We all gotta start somewhere and this is where most of the 3H units do. HP +5 is a deceptively strong mastery because the bulk increase is fairly significant, there really aren't better skills to equip for a good while and for Vengeance purposes it's basically damage +5. Physical units are ok with staying in the Noble/Commoner early on before Class Mastery +1 since they won't make much headway into mastering Beginner classes anyway, but magic units want to escape into Monk ASAP, because of the halved magic uses severely dampening their performance.
Dancing OP, more at 11. While the analysis could stop there, I want to talk about how to pick the dancer. Generally you want it to be someone who can win the competition to begin with – 9 charm before picking the dancer + the dance lesson will guarantee it. It should be someone struggling to contribute otherwise for the most part. Players often cite the availability of Movement +1 from A+ riding as a deciding factor for picking the dancer but between how late that comes (or in the case of Crimson Flower possibly not at all) and the abundance of mobility options in 3H it's not as important of a factor in my opinion. I'm personally a fan of the siege tome linked attack factor, but you need to consider that for it to be effective you want the dancer to be able to support a large amount of your team to even give them the +hit/avo bonuses. As such, I believe the standouts to be Dorothea (linked attack Meteor, supports all the Black Eagles and Felix/Ingrid/Sylvain from Blue Lions
There's a bug where if you auto-battle during the first 10 turns, the 10 turn limit on dance experience is lifted. If you're ok with grinding you can make the dancer your most woke unit (even on Maddening), so there's that.
The main reason to promote to these classes is to get the small boosts to stats, work on the class masteries, or to double your magic uses in the case of mages. Click here for a full list.
In my opinion this is the worst of the beginner classes. The 1 bonus speed while in the class is usually pretty negligible, but the biggest issues are its mastery abilities - which is the defining factor in which Beginner class you choose. Speed +2 is not that good on Maddening given how tiered speed inflation is, the 5 slot limitation alongside Darting Blow existing and there's no reward for overkilling speed (Lance Jab and Burning Quake only run a 0.3x modifier for the stat which isn't good enough to be worth it). Swap is the worst of the positioning combat arts overall as the point of them on Maddening is to shift positions to be out of range or to cover more ground with your units overall.
The class you go into for Reposition. Defense +2 is neat but overall gets phased out quickly. I will say that Reposition is, while nice, not as "end all be all" as some players claim it to be. Overall, you want to go into this class if you're not going to be running a Brave combat art (or Vengeance) and will be going a flier route, but don't mind the loss of attack power or have different skills to equip than Strength +2 from Fighter.
Probably the best of the physical beginner classes, as Strength +2 is very handy when using brave combat arts and Shove is a good positioning skill overall. The +1 Strength bonus from being in the class is also nice in the early game where your offensive options are worse overall. An important tidbit about the class is that for recruitable units, anyone who you recruit as this class will have at least D axes/bows/gauntlets – this is very handy for units that are not going to autolevel into Brigand as out-of-house recruits later (which has a significant strength boost) and want those ranks, like Balthus, Bernadetta or Ignatz.
If you want a magic using class in Beginner, this is the only one. It's a lot better than Noble/Commoner by virtue of having full magic uses, so everyone using magic wants to promote into it. Magic +2 remains a relevant ability for magic users for basically the entire game and Draw Back is a very useful combat art, so this is a very important class to mages. It's worth pointing out this class is a Heal Adjutant, so this is the earliest non-attack adjutant you can get. Same as with Fighter, all recruited units who go through Monk will have a guaranteed D rank in Reason/Faith, which is relevant for units who don't autolevel both. Examples of such units are Lysithea, Annette, Dorothea or Marianne, all of whom you'd want to recruit in the Chapter 3-5 stretch, which is when they are Monks.
This is the class tier where the most overall worth it class masteries are. As a result, a large part of choosing which intermediate class to go for is tied simply to class masteries, and these are the classes I will cover first. Click here for a full list.
A +2 HP and Strength modifier alone is good enough reason to stay in the class, but the mastery ability of Death Blow helps any physical oriented unit and will likely remain equipped for the entire game. As such, a large part of building physical units usually involves reaching D+ axes to promote into this class. +6 attack on player phase is huge, not much else to say really.
Honestly Hit +20 might be an even more important mastery on Maddening than Death Blow. The enemy avoid gets inflated a lot due to stats and weapon prowesses increasing, and as such even offensive magic units want this skill (without DLC). Having Bow Range +1 is also really handy, since it makes Curved Shot 2-4 range and allows for very flexible offense. Definitely route in getting D+ bows for this class.
Only available to Edelgard, Dimitri and Claude. Not a particularly enticing class as the mastery skills are not worth it and the Charm skill loses in value when compared to a house leader in an actual good class. The one recommendation I've seen for this class is Silver Snow Edelgard if going just for that route, but for that you could set her to Solo Faith focus and reach Heal/Recover/Stride status at chapter 7. Overall would not recommend.
While the bonuses of +1 Strength and Speed are good, realistically the only reason any unit will promote into to this class is for Vantage, (going for a combination with Wrath/Battalion Wrath). If the unit doesn't benefit from Vantage, there is no reason to go into this class, since Thief is better for sheer stats.
This class has a fairly significant base Speed of 11 (Mercenary has 10) and a +2 Speed modifier. While it shares the 5 movement of Mercenary, it has unrestricted forest movement as well as Lockpick/Steal utility. Steal is an ability worth situationally considering – in particular Chapter 6 has two Magic Staves, Chapter 7 has two stealable Evasion Rings on the other house leaders, Ladislava on non-CF Chapter 16 has a stealable Aurora Shield. Remember to combine Speed food (Dining Hall guide here), Rally Speed, and Seal Speed in the scenarios you need to. Other than the mobility and Steal utility, you should seriously consider going into the other good mastery classes.
It has the highest base Defense in intermediate at 12, which is actually a significant amount for a lot of units. Hence, if you have a relatively easy way to access it, it's worth certifying just for the Defense boost. Other than that, it's not actually a bad class for a unit going the Fortress Knight/Grappler/War Master route as long as you stack defense with everything you can, but you will want to master Brigand and Archer beforehand. This class is also significant as the only Guard Adjutant option for female units that they can easily get – male units usually prefer Brawler for this purpose.
The 7 movement along with Canto mobility combined with still having access to ground battalions can be really handy in the level 10-20 period, especially for builds like Vengeance. The biggest issue with this class is that it's not Brigand and Archer, as its mastery of Desperation isn't really useful on Maddening. You can however master those 2 classes in easier battles while using Cavalier's mobility for the difficult ones like Gronder 1, so it's just something to keep in mind rather than a sign to not use Cavalier at all. The Speed decrease isn't really significant as on Maddening Speed is so tiered you might as well forget about Speed with most of your units.
Probably the single best intermediate class in terms of fighting prowess since it has 6 movement, +3 Speed, flight, and Darting Blow, which is good for any unit that relies on their sheer stats for combat. The main limiting factor of this class is the bad availability of flier battalions in the early-mid game, so you probably don't want to have too many at the same time, especially since Brigand/Archer need mastering too. This is also the easiest accessible class to adjutant for fliers, since they can only get flying adjutants. If going for Falcon Knight, do not stay in Pegasus Knight but rather pass Wyvern Rider with C axe C flight for better stats (or better yet just go for Wyvern Lord instead).
You're going to be a guard adjutant. That's it. The class modifiers and mobility are similar to a thief, but realistically if you're in a class for stats, you're in Brigand for the +2 Strength and for masteries you want to master Death Blow and Hit +20.
Between getting Fire for free and mastering Fiendish Blow this is the most useful intermediate magic class. There isn't much else to say, +6 magical attack is really useful. Sometimes you don't need much to be a good class to begin with.
Once you have Fiendish Blow, this is actually a worthy consideration for male magic units. It has 1 more bonus Magic and Heartseeker over Mage, so in terms of sheer combat performance it's actually better. Poison Strike isn't that all that useful though, besides from Golden Deer final boss cheesing (he isn't immune to it).
For when you don't care about attacking and/or have already mastered Mage and just want to be the best Physic healer you can be. Miracle is meme/10, but White Magic Heal +5 and 20 Heal uses is nothing to shake a stick at. Also, White Magic Heal +5 (and later White Magic Heal +10) do indeed affect Heal Adjutants' healing.
This will be concluded in part 2 where I will talk about the Level 20+ classes and equivalent Unique classes, as well as what end roles the units who go into them want, as these will be the classes you're considering as your final stopping point. Comment your thoughts, questions, and critiques below and have a good day.
Edit: part 2 is now available here.